Home BRI Women Parshat Chukat: What To Do When You Are Frustrated (Don’t hit a rock!)

Parshat Chukat: What To Do When You Are Frustrated (Don’t hit a rock!)

by Chaya Rivka Zwolinski

In Parsha Chukat the Torah tells us that the Jews demanded water in the desert. Their intense complaining annoyed Moshe Rebbeinu. He reacted out of his frustration and struck a rock, from which water gushed forth. He didn’t request or plead, he didn’t ask Hashem. He hit the rock and demanded water.

Reb Noson explains that demanding is a kind of stealing, robbery even. Because when a person demands, he seeks to take something by force. Forcing an issue always leads to error. Even if we get what we want, mishaps and mistakes (and often hurt feelings) will follow. Fractured relationships, sticky web-like situations, loss of money – all this comes from forcing an issue.

Rebbe Nachman tells us that a person needs to cultivate patience. If you don’t have patience, no matter how much you think you believe in Hashem, you do not have true emunah. A person with emunah knows: If you need something, if you want something, the only address to go to is Hashem.

How do you get to that address? A person needs to go on a psycho-spiritual journey. On this journey, turn to Hashem internally, turning your mind and heart to Him. Once you try it, you’ll realize it’s not only possible, but Hashem wants you to turn to Him so much, that He’ll help you. Talk to Him. Plead with Him. Ask Him to help you understand. Ask Him to help you make things different.

What if it feels like nothing is happening? Even if your material situation doesn’t change exactly the way you wish it would, you can ask Hashem for insight into why your situation is so challenging. Even if you don’t get the insight you had hoped for, you can strengthen your emunah and bitachon, thereby gaining valuable spiritual strengths that will serve you throughout your entire life (with all its ups and downs.)

You’ll start out remembering halfway through a your own personal “rock-hitting” episode that you forgot to turn to Hashem, and you’ll turn to Him in that moment. Next time, it will be quicker and easier. And eventually, God willing, you will turn to Hashem the moment you are frustrated, confused or hurt.  Then you’ll see, if not outright miracles, that your situation has generally turned out for the best.

May you have a day in which you turn to Hashem at every opportunity.

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